The holiday season is just a blur. Dinner after dinner after dinner. Endless get-togethers with families, with friends or co-workers.

Just thinking about it may make you want to kick the can down the road to January 1 on your weight release plans because it just seems too tough.

Hold on to the can! Don’t kick it! Friend, managing holiday meetings is totally possible. We can use our thin thinking mindset to not only survive our upcoming family, work or friend get together, but actually make awesome choices, feel great, thrive.

For the 92nd Episode of Thin Thinking, I give you the holiday inside scoop on how you can stay sane and healthy for the upcoming family holiday meals and get togethers.

In This Episode, You'll Learn:

Subscribe and Review

Have you subscribed to the podcast yet? If not, go ahead and click the ‘subscribe’ button for your favorite podcast platform! You don’t want to miss a single episode.

If you enjoyed this episode, it would be very helpful to us if you would leave an honest review on Apple Podcasts. This review helps people who are on the same weight loss journey as you to find us and soak up all the wonderful insights and lessons I have to offer.

If you aren’t sure how to leave a review in Apple Podcasts/iTunes, view our tutorial by clicking here.

Subscribe and Never Miss an Episode


Rita Black: Families. They are the best, aren't they? Until they're not. Did someone say you cannot have too much of a good thing? Well, I bet that person has not been to the average family holiday meal with all the heavy family foods and heavy family drama. However, Norman Rockwell painted idyllic family holiday scenario. Is it possible we can use our thin thinking mindset to not only survive our upcoming family, work or friend get together, but actually make awesome choices, feel great, thrive, and pull a Norman Rockwell? Well, that's what we're gonna be doing today during today's Thin Thinking podcast. So toss that jello mold in the trash, and come on in.

Rita Black: Did you know that our struggle with weight doesn't start with the food on your plate or get fixed in the gym? 80% of our weight struggle is mental. That's right. The key to unlocking long-term weight release and management begins in your mind. Hi there, I'm Rita Black. I'm a clinical hypnotherapist weight loss expert, bestselling author, and the creator of the Shift Weight Mastery Process. And not only have I helped thousands of people over the past 20 years achieve long-term weight mastery, I am also a former weight struggler, carb addict and binge eater. And after two decades of failed diets and fad weight loss programs, I lost 40 pounds with the help of hypnosis. Not only did I release all that weight, I have kept it off for 25 years. Enter the Thin Thinking Podcast where you too will learn how to remove the mental roadblocks that keep you struggling. I'll give you the thin thinking tools, skills and insights to help you develop the mindset you need, not only to achieve your ideal weight, but to stay there long-term and live your best life. Sound good? Let's get started.

Rita Black: Hello everyone. Come on in and welcome. You know, I was thinking about you know, how I had this really fast trip to Vermont, which was insane in October, and I was thinking back about that today because it was so nice in a way, you know, to be amongst the beautiful trees and to see just all the colors when I don't see that type of color here in Los Angeles. So when I was there, we did venture into the Norman Rockwell museum that was in the town near the town of Bennington. And I saw copies of his paintings. I don't think they were the originals. So in that same museum was also all this maple stuff, because we were in Vermont and it was a tourist trap, they were maple candies, maple syrup, maple whiskey, maple scones, maple cookies et cetera.

Rita Black: And so I just had to laugh about that. But our friend who has a farm in Vermont, he got like through some back back alley deal he'd got an amazing deal on this farm, and he now owns all these trees and land. He has maple trees. And it was the first time I'd ever seen how they make maple syrup because this man had made a deal with our friend that if if he was allowed to, I guess farm the syrup from his trees, that then he would give my friend a certain amount of maple syrup. So they put these, it's so interesting, they put these I don't call it not spikes, but something where then they attach a plastic tube and the trees were up on a mountain and they use the force of gravity that all the maple syrup kind of at night comes out.

Rita Black: Or the maple sap, that they make the syrup from comes out of the trees and using the force of gravity comes down into this sort of big, I don't know, container where all the maple syrup is collected. So interesting. But anyway, Vermont also reminded me of the over the river and through the woods to grandmother's house we go, which brings me to today's topic, which is holiday meals and the tendency to let things go. Forget about our health and weight goals and just kick that can down the road until January. But hell no people, we are thin thinkers and we are thin thinkers all over the world. No matter what holiday you are celebrating, we stay strong. So I pulled a popular episode on how to survive holiday meals from the archive. This was a very popular episode. A lot of people really got a lot from it.

Rita Black: And so I thought it's always a good thing to revisit these principles and tools before we head into that bees nest of what we call our family holiday meals. And just some hacks that are gonna keep you on, you know, I guess keep hacks to keep that thinking top of mind, your thin thinking top of mind when you go over the river and through the woods. Oh, and by the way, just please subscribe to the podcast and write a review while you're at it. It would be great if you did. We're really in the getting review mode and we would love for you to subscribe so that you can get more thin thinking, especially as we head into the new year. I'm going to be doing some great episodes and also running some promotions that I think you'll really love. Free workshop, all that kind of stuff. So sign up.

Rita Black: And now let's get going on our family meal thin thinking.

Rita Black: The first thing you really wanna do before you even step foot outside your own home and go to the holiday meal or before you prepare to have people over, is you wanna prepare your mind for success. And preparing is really it with regards to weight management is probably the numeral uno thing you can do in most situations, but definitely in the holiday season. Why, why is this so important? Because during the holidays, we are outside of our normal structure of life, and our brains are actually really overwhelmed. The stimulus of the holidays, what happens is the more stimulated our brain is, the lower our impulse control, the lower our willpower. That's why people go through the holiday seasons and they start with good intentions but as the holiday season unfolds, we get weaker and weaker with regards to our impulse control until by, you know, December 31st, we're just shoving everything in our mouth and drinking everything and just like, I'm gonna start again in the new year. But what you can do is when you prepare your mind before you go out, take a moment, think it through ahead of time, what you're doing is actually creating a roadmap in your mind about beginning with the end in mind. What I mean by that is leaving that house, leaving that holiday party, having eaten lightly, feeling good, I want you to feel the feeling you want to feel leaving that holiday, whether it's your mom's or your own home or your friend's home or your boss's home. So that you already are telling your brain, we wanna make this happen like this. Your brain at the, what you're doing is engaging the reticular activation system and saying, by engaging in that feeling, you're saying to the brain this is what I want.

Rita Black: Let's create this. And if you can create that in your mind and feel that like, that's how I wanna leave. I wanna feel feeling confident, proud of myself for having managed my weight, the chances are you are going to be so much more set up for success. And you kind of want to think the whole evening through before you go there, because like athletes will prepare their game in their mind, and it's kind of like you're going into a game if you just show up hoping to do. Well, what will happen in your brain is you will do exactly what you always do. Because once a trigger hits your brain, it's cue routine reward, the brain is, it's like the train has left the station. So you cannot hope to manage your weight at the party unless you prepare ahead of time, unless you know you're a super will powered human being. Most of us aren't. We need to prepare our brains and the older the brain, frankly, the less willpower we have. So begin with the end in mind. Have a goal.

Rita Black: Now the next subject is booze. Booze, friends. Booze. Yes, booze. So what's the quickest way to having the brain go I don't care about anything, is to go to a party and drink booze on an empty stomach before you eat anything else, you know? We'll spike your blood sugar, you'll feel woozy. That part of your brain that can resist things and has a plan will be like, plan, plan. I don't have a plan. Let's have fun. And you know, of course you want to have fun. So here's my cue with booze. I don't, I'm not saying don't drink booze, but be smart about it. First of all, go to that party with some food in your stomach, whether it's like a half a cup of Greek yogurt, a hard boiled egg, something protein based, so that if you have a drink right when you get through the door, hopefully you're not, so hopefully you're not, but we'll, we'll get into that in a second, but whatever you do, you're going in and you aren't having an empty stomach that then you can put, you know, if you eat potato chips, that's going to trigger your brain. You, you want your brain, you, you want your body stabilized so that your brain doesn't get trip wired by whatever. If you're eating a highly refined food in the beginning of the party then and you have some protein in your stomach, the chances are that highly refined food isn't going to make you want to eat a lot more. But, or if you have a drink, it won't make you want to, you know, continue to drink. It's, it's a lot easier to manage things if you have a little something to eat beforehand. But also with regards to booze, what you want to do is really have a plan, like I said.

Rita Black: And one of the ideas with the plan is to probably drink some water first and then start with the alcohol. Make sure you're hydrated. And also you might really think through how many drinks do you need to have in order to have a good time. Now that answer may vary depending on the people at the party, right? Like, if you have a fun set of friends that you know, you have one glass of wine and you just have a great time, then you might just want a glass. If you have want, you know, it's a two drink night, okay, well then, then stagger it out, have a drink, then have some water, then have another drink. Or if you want to postpone drinking until the meal comes, or if you think that you're going to want to have your drink before dinner, but once dinner starts, you don't really need alcohol, you know? These are all things that you can think through ahead of time and really give yourself that choice, but you wanna think it through, because what you don't wanna do is show up at the door, drink that first drink, have that brain go click, and then keep drinking throughout the night and then eat, overeating, and then leaving the party feeling gross over drink, you know? Like that you've had too much to drink and too much to eat. You really want to start with the end in mind and really have a plan for the alcohol. And if you can bring some healthy treats to the party, good for you, that will set you up for success. And, you know, I'll make everybody else really kind of happy too. I can't tell you how many clients I work with who start doing this, and everybody at the party's so happy to have healthy treats there, you know, but people are mindful nowadays about what they're serving.

Rita Black: But sometimes, you know, aunt Jan, she's not putting out the crudite platter. She's putting out the you know, the baked brie roll and all the potato chips and the onion dip and the la lalas and the this and that, and, and there's not a green thing inside. So if you can bring like a crudite platter, something that you know you can eat that's gonna be light and not, you know, have you consuming a thousand calories before you even sit down to dinner, all the better for you. And then also dessert, bringing something healthy for dessert. I had a client who told me this wonderful idea, which is slicing up apple slices, red and green, and arranging them on it platter and sprinkling cinnamon on them and putting toothpicks in each one and putting that out on the dessert table. And everybody went for them because it was just, I think she put some lemon juice on it so they wouldn't turn brown.

Rita Black: But people were just like, this is so amazing. They were so happy to have a healthy treat available. When you go to holiday parties, often there is a pressure to eat from other people, you know? People bring in their special holiday, you know, I only make this at the holidays, so you better get it. And there's that pressure to eat Aunt Millie's you know, fruitcake or aunt, uncle Archie's you know, rule of sausage or whatever the thing is, you know? So you really want to practice your response to people like saying, no thank you, or, gosh, aunt Millie, I love your fruitcake, but this year I'm feeling a little gluten intolerant. I'm just gonna pass. It looks delicious and thank you. You're so amazing because the most important thing to understand about people forcing food on you is that they really just want to be acknowledged for what they've done, you know?

Rita Black: If you watch thin people, they'll often be so gracious about food. They aren't like, I'm on a diet and don't give me that. But Velma just be like, oh, thank you so much. This is so amazing. Look at this. You took so much time, and I can tell you, and oh, I just, I just so appreciate the way your fruitcake looks, is so beautiful. And then as soon as they turn their back and Millie turns her back, they kind of, you know, hide the fruitcake under a napkin and put it to the side. So, or take a bite and then put the rest of it aside. So practice in your mind ahead of time what obstacles you might be up against with regards to social pressure and come up with some responses before you get to the party so it's a lot easier to follow through with that. And you know, really appreciate people and let them know. And I will tell you, it will change your life because you'll see like, that's really what they want. They aren't really so much hawkishly looking at whether or not you're consuming it. They just want to be appreciated.

Rita Black: So now, once we get to the party you know, while the appetizers are being passed you know, it's kind of hard to sit at a party, you know, with all the food in front of you and and just sit there, you know, with it for an hour before dinner is served, especially if you're hungry. So please make sure that you eat ahead of time. But one of my top tricks for party survival is to actually help out, like, to get up and ask the hostess, what can I do? Can I help set the table? Can I peel potatoes? Can I, because then one, I get to help, you know, and I love helping but it also keeps me occupied. It keeps me from eating or drinking too much in the beginning. And I also get to catch up with the hostess, which, you know, is the person usually who's invited you. So and I, you know, when you're standing in the kitchen and helping somebody and everybody else says out, you get to hear all the dirt, it's pretty cool. And then you get to walk around to the party and help me. Oh, oh, here have Uncle Harry. So great to see you. Do you want some of this? Oh you know, granny you know, here, this is Aunt Millie's special. She wanted you to try. So, so you, you get to connect with everybody without being stuck on the couch in front of the, you know, potato chips and the onion dip and being a hostage. So help out and help out during the meal too. Help clear the plates that gets you away from eating seconds. And even with dessert, help serve the dessert. And then maybe you'll have a little, you can serve yourself a little piece instead of having to eat the whole thing.

Rita Black: So with family favorites, if it is a favorite for you and you do want to eat it, that's fine, but just remember after three bites of any food, your mouth experience goes from 90% down to 20%. And this is what I call my three by rule. You probably, if you know me, know my three by rule. But, so yeah, you don't need a huge heating serving of the mashed potatoes or your, you know, aunt Millie's macaroni and cheese. You just need a few bites and you can fill your plate with the healthy green stuff and the, hopefully there is some, and the you know, some protein. And then take a few bites of those family favorites rather than heaping platters full and then mindfully eat them, enjoy them. But no, like, that's kind of enough, you know? And the same goes for dessert.

Rita Black: So this is something that is so key and critical is that when we are around other people and in a social situation and everybody's talking, it overwhelms our brain. And often we will eat more to calm ourselves down. So it has, studies have been shown to like that people might consume over 250 calories or to 500 calories more when you're eating with other people. So one thing that I like to do is to, if I'm going to a party, look around for an escape hatch, and usually it's the bathroom. And what I mean by that is, I, if in the middle of the meal and I've finished what I'm going to eat, I'll usually get up and I'll go to the bathroom, or I might go get up and, and take plates out into the kitchen. That's another good place. But I just kind of take a breath and I connect with myself and I, you know, I say, you know, I've eaten enough, how are things going?

Rita Black: I'll have a little conversation with myself. And it kind of gives your brain time to regroup and think, okay, well what, how am I gonna get, you know, finished this evening? Do I need dessert? Do I just want a cup of tea? You know, like so getting yourself away from the crowd where you can really connect and kind of process everything up to date, especially if your family's volatile and loud and boisterous, you really need to kind of come and go, you know, and call, okay, can I go back out? Yes. You know, and then, you know, get ready so that you aren't eating, eating all your feelings, but that you're giving yourself time to go in and process. You may need to do this many, many times. Everybody's like, why is she going to the bathroom so often? She must have a bladder problem.

Rita Black: Let them think you have a bladder problem, that's fine. You aren't gonna leave there having not over eaten because they're a volatile family or because you know, they trigger you or whatever they, you know, go know you have an escape hatch and take care of yourself process. And then when you're ready, go back out, face the crowd, hello, calm, cool and collected and get on with your meal.

Rita Black: And then the other thing would be if you are the one that is the host and everybody's left, or, you know, everybody's in the other room, decompress before you do the dishes, because often for a lot of hostesses and hosts, they may not be eating so much at dinner, but then after dinner, after the stress of preparing the meal is over, then they'll eat a bunch while they're in the kitchen and everybody else is out, or, or after everybody is gone, like, while they're cleaning up and doing that. So, you know, you could even leave the dishes until the next day where you're not gonna be tempted by the leftovers.

Rita Black: Another idea would be to have somebody come into the kitchen and help you so that you're not alone and they're, you know, they're helping you put the leftovers away and get cleaned up. But don't go and do the dishes when you're overwhelmed, stressed out. And then we just start, you know, doing fork fulls of whatever, you know, we're putting into the Tupperware containers. Okay? And the last thing is if you are going to someone's house, leave empty handed, because everybody's gonna wanna give you half of the cake or half the lasagna or whatever, and you'll just say, you know, I don't know that I'm gonna be around. No thank you. Or if you are the host, give everybody else the food and get it out of your house, you know? Don't have a bunch of the leftovers hanging around. And don't bring home a bunch of leftovers because again, stimulus control is 60 to 70% of weight management. If it's not your environment, you're not over gonna overeat on it.

Rita Black: All right, well, that's it. I hope that session brought you value. I hope you do have an amazing gathering with your families, your friends, your colleagues this year. Stay safe, stay healthy. And remember that the key and probably the only key to unlocking the door, the weight struggle is inside you. So keep listening and find it.

Rita Black: Thanks for listening to The Thin Thinking Podcast. Did that episode go by way too fast for you? If so, and do you wanna dive deeper into the mindset of long-term weight release? Head on over to www shift weight That's www shift weight, where you'll find numerous tools and resources to help you unlock your mind for permanent weight release tips, strategies, and more. And be sure to check the show notes to learn more about my book from Fact to thin Thinking, unlock your mind for permanent weight loss, and to learn how to subscribe to the podcast so that you never miss an episode.